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Legendary Purdue coach Ward "Piggy" Lambert poses with Allen Menke after awarding him the Ward Lambert Trophy for athletic and academic achievement in 1943.

Meet Allen Menke

By Sally Schneiders Heads turned toward us as we made our way to a table at the Bluestone Restaurant one day last November. Ninety-five years old, yet still standing almost completely erect at 6’5″, my lunch companion looked impressive in a brown leather bomber jacket, tan slacks, and relaxed expression. As my friend pulled out my chair for me to […]

This beautifully renovated home at 644 Walden will be the site of the 2017 WHS Gala event Big Noise from Winnetka on June 10.

WHS Gala: “Big Noise” on a Quiet Street

By Laurie Petersen The theme of this year’s Winnetka Historical Society’s gala is “Big Noise from Winnetka,” inspired by the Big Band tune of that name. Music and merriment will fill the air at the beautiful home and garden of hosts Becky and Chris Hurley. Their remodeled house at 644 Walden Road, designed by Paul […]

The North Shore Hospital, a familiar Winnetka landmark for clsoe to 70 years was demolished in 1969, making way for Centennial Park. Winnetka Talk February 24, 1969.

Centennial Park: Settlers, Sanitarium and Open Space

By Susan Whitcomb The earliest people to walk the land we now know as Centennial Park were Native Americans who moved north and south on the Green Bay trail. In the early 19th century, trappers, mail carriers and settlers began to trod the same ground. The first permanent dweller on the land that comprises Centennial […]

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In Memoriam: David James, 1923-2016

Being the first African-American to buy a house in Winnetka was just one of many milestones in the eventful life of David James. His multi-faceted personality and lifelong work for social justice were recalled at the July 29th funeral mass at Sacred Heart, where he was a longtime parishioner. Born in St. Louis, Mr. James […]

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Winnetka’s Spiegel Family: Installment Credit Pioneers

By Tane Beecham For more than four decades, 410 Sheridan Road was home to the Spiegels, founding family of the Chicago-based mail order company, Spiegel Inc., and its iconic “Spiegel Catalog.” Universally known to consumers in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, the company opened its doors in 1865 under the name “J. Spiegel & Company” […]

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The Laundry: Still Fresh at 40

By Laurie Petersen In January, 1976 the Winnetka Talk featured the surprising headline, “Doing the Laundry can be fun.” This was because a large commercial laundry building in the middle of the Village would no longer be taking in dirty clothing—it would instead offer elegant new apparel for sale. It would also have stores offering […]

Map showing geological context of the Skokie Lagoons.

Getting to Know Winnetka’s Own Science Guy

An interview with WHS Board President Charlie Shabica By Sally Schneiders It all started just prior to a recent Winnetka Historical Society board meeting when Charlie Shabica plunked down on the table a replica of a Tully Monster, an antique flintlock pistol and a seventeenth century silver Spanish dollar. Charlie passed each artifact around so […]

660 Prospect in 1971

House of the Season: 660 Prospect Avenue

by Justine Hourihane Rounding the bend of Prospect Avenue, on an elevated parcel of land within walking distance to the lake and town, the Sturgis family saw the ideal location for their custom home to be designed by renowned architect William Otis. Originally from France, Charles Inches Sturgis started working as a clerk at the […]

Winnetka Fourth of July Foundations

By Susan Whitcomb The Fourth of July was designated a national holiday by the United States Congress in 1870, just one year after Winnetka was granted its village charter by the State of Illinois. The oldest official evidence of Winnetka’s independence celebration is a printed program from 1873. Headlined as a “National Celebration,” it took […]

Capias. Inside view. WHS object 3080.

From the Curator, Fall 2015

We welcomed Robert Franklin as our 2015 summer digital exhibits intern. As we said goodbye to The Adventurers installation, he created an online exhibit based on the original so the research and stories told would live on. Our collections inventory is in full swing. Volunteer Bill McKay is working with our oversized files, starting with […]